While Oktoberfests are celebrated in taverns and cities around the world (chances are you've sipped a beer or chewed a brat during one of these German jubilees in your hometown), they stem from the same root-Munich.
Germany's most famous annual event and the world's largest present-day fair trace its origins to a fete for the royal wedding of Bavarian Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony in 1810. Since then, revelers have returned yearly for two weeks in September/October to lionize Bavarian (southern Germany) culture, history, food and-of course-beer. By the time the last keg is tapped, 6 million people guzzle 7 million liters of suds, sip 80,000 liters of wine, and eat 58,000 pork knuckles (just one of the many traditional chow choices). Hundreds of carnival rides, many not for the faint of heart, are erected throughout the 100+ acre Theresienwiese grounds. Capping off the festivities is the longstanding (since 1850!) tradition of locals adorned in Bavarian garb parading through city streets.
Oktoberfest's two weeks are undoubtedly Munich's hoopla high, but visitors to this cosmopolitan city will find it charming and captivating year round. And, despite a sausage and sauerkraut reputation, you may be surprised (as were we) by Munich's ample selection of healthy-lifestyle food, activity and lodging choices. On behalf of all athletic-minded travelers, "Danke schoen Munich-danke schoen!"